UCL Library Services


Restricting access to your thesis

There may be a valid reason why you need to restrict access to your thesis, either to both paper and electronic versions or just to the e-thesis. This is often referred to as an embargo on publication. Use the E-Thesis Deposit Agreement to request an embargo, which is usually granted for a limited period of time but can be considered for renewal on request. Unless you stipulate otherwise on the deposit agreement form, requested embargoes will apply to both the paper and electronic copies of your thesis.

Reasons to restrict access

  1. If your thesis has been commercially sponsored you may have signed an agreement with your sponsor which does not permit you to make it publicly available, whether for a limited period of time or in perpetuity. If you are in this position you should indicate this on the E-Thesis Deposit Agreement. You will still be required to supply an electronic copy of your thesis but UCL will undertake not to make it publicly online in accordance with the terms of the agreement.
  2. If you need to include third party copyright material in your thesis and are unable to obtain permission or are asked to pay to do this you will not be able to make the full version of the thesis publicly available online. You have two choices:

    1. Deposit two electronic copies - one the full version with all third party copyright material retained, and a second edited version with this material removed. The edited electronic version will be made publicly available; the full version will not. Please ensure the files are clearly labelled as either edited or full versions.
    2. Deposit only the full version with third party copyright material retained. This will not be made publicly available.
  3. Other than the above conditions there is a range of reasons why it may be necessary to restrict access to your thesis. These reasons usually refer to one of the exemptions to public access to information provided by the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, the most common of which are:

    • your thesis is due for publication, either as a series of articles or as monograph;
    • your thesis contains commercially sensitive information, the release of which might prejudice the commercial interests of any person including the author, the University or an external company;
    • your thesis includes material that was obtained under a promise of confidentiality;
    • the release of your thesis might endanger the physical or mental health or the safety of an individual;
    • publication would cause you or third parties mentioned in the text to be open to legal challenge or racial, ethnic, political or other persecution.

You should talk to your supervisor when establishing if there is a need to restrict access to your thesis. If you need further help with interpreting the requirements of the FOI or EIR legislation you should in the first instance contact your Departmental FOI Co-ordinator.

Workshops to help you understand copyright and access restriction in relation to theses in general and electronic theses in particular are held on a regular basis in conjunction with the Graduate School.